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Island condo sales picture brightening

Posted On: 10-21-2012

By Darrell Hofheinz

Daily News Real Estate Writer

More Palm Beach condominiums are selling this year than last year, a good sign for a market plagued by a glut of units since the early years of the recession.

The latest Evans Report analysis of sales showed that during the first half of this year, 174 condos and co-operative apartments changed hands, compared with 157 during the same period in 2011. More buyers also acquired more-expensive apartments, with 35 units selling for $1 million or more, compared to 30 such sales in the first half of last year.

Those numbers are positive — and so is the steady rise in the confidence of condo buyers and sellers alike, as prices have begun to stabilize, said Scott Gordon of Scott Gordon Realty, a Manalapan agency that specializes in the island’s condo market.

“There’s definitely a greater level of consumer confidence than we’ve seen in the last four or five years,” Gordon said.

Recent searches of condos and co-operatives for sale in the Palm Beach Board of Realtors’ Multiple Listing Service showed about 261 units listed for sale south of Sloan’s Curve compared to about 285 at this time last year; and about 170 units available north of the curve, compared to 200 in 2011.

In line with those numbers, Gordon notes more higher-end apartments have reached the market on the South End, perhaps because their owners have finally accepted that the prices they’ll fetch will likely be lower today than during the boom.

“In the upper price points (on the South End), we have 10 or 11 units for sale in the 4,000- to 5,000-square-foot range. In normal years, we might have three or four of those,” Gordon said.

Another trend? More owners — along with buyers and investors — seem willing to commit to spending money on renovations today than during the bleak years of the recession, Gordon said. That move bodes well for the market, where many of the buildings are showing their age, and updated units are always in demand, he added.

As in the single-family market, increased sales have made pricing apartments easier, Gordon said. And in some cases, especially for renovated units, he has even noted a subtle trend upward for prices.

“As things improve — and they are improving — there’s a little bit of an uptick on pricing,” Gordon said. “It’s still a buyer’s market, but nobody is asking (a seller) to give it away.”


Source: Darrell Hofheinz, October 21, 2012, Palm Beach Daily News


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